UK businesses are currently in two minds when it comes to tablets, according to new research. Whilst seven out of ten (71 per cent) tablets used in the workplace are currently privately owned, experts predict a swing towards business-owned tablets in the near future, with 71% of IT managers believing that tablets will soon be used universally in UK business.
The research, carried out by Equanet, the Dixons Retail owned provider of IT solutions to business, questioned more than 1,200 IT professionals throughout the UK to gather their views about the future of tablets. The results show that the initial infiltration of tablets in the business environment has come through a personal response to the tablet trend; nearly half of UK businesses (48 per cent) currently don't have plans to officially integrate tablets into the workplace, even though one in five (18 per cent) employees are already using them.
The personal benefits of tablets are fundamentally changing IT departments' thoughts on providing hardware, as employees expect technology to support rather than dictate their style of working. This change is gaining momentum with the popularity of the tablet and is fuelling widespread business initiatives such as digital allowance, Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) and social computing schemes.
Many false perceptions around tablets remain and have created a few barriers for businesses to fully adopt them. Almost half of UK businesses (43 per cent) are waiting for tablet prices to be stabilised, whilst many feel that tablets need to work harder to earn their place in the workplace - 88 per cent have chosen to wait until they have a 'proven track record' in business.
However, with consumer interest in tablets growing, many early adopters have found that tablets are more capable than what is provided for them in the workplace. The Equanet survey shows that tablets are becoming integral for personal and business purposes alike, most commonly being used for email management (68 per cent) and social activities (96 per cent). And with 34 per cent most often using their tablets to work remotely tablets are allowing an unprecedented degree of mobility for the UK workforce.
Phil Birbeck, managing director at Equanet, commented, "UK business has been slow to respond to this new form of IT innovation which is targeted at the employee rather than the business. Now, as employees are demonstrating the benefit of tablets in the office as well as for personal use, businesses are having to take notice and, with schemes like BYOC, integrate them into their IT infrastructures."
Birbeck continued, "Tablets are perfectly suited to the modern work ethos of the busy, commuting employee who is no longer confined to the office. Hesitancy in the face of novelty is always to be expected but as technology advances and rapid integration becomes more familiar I would agree with the sentiment of these results tablets are the future."